Jewish Museum of Australia - Middle Eastern Feast 09 (Danny Gocs)

Front of Soleluna CD cover

Back of Soleluna CD Cover

 Sarah Mandie



Soleluna :  Sephardic traditional music fused with contemporary harmonies

Soleuna are an inspiring band performing a selection of traditional Sephardic songs from Jewish Spain, Greece, the Balkans and the Middle East.
With Harry Williamson on acoustic guitar, Ernie Gruner on violin and recorder and the Middle eastern rhythms of Matt Stonehouse they form a textured instrumental blend to complement the rich and lively voice of singer, Sarah Mandie.
Soleluna take you on a journey of Sephardic Jewish folk music with the fiery passion of the sun and sensitivity of the moon.



Sarah Mandie        -  vocals   website                             Sarah's website

Harry Williamson    -  guitar, backing vocals                   Harry's website

Ernie Gruner          -  violin, mandolin, recorders, backing vocals

Matt Stonehouse   -  percussion                                    Matt's website           

Sarah and Ernie can trace family history to Sephardic roots. Sarah has sung in groups such as Nude Rain, Ella Filar cabaret and also sings in Spiel Azoi. Ernie specialise in klezmer with Klezmeritis, Bohemian Nights etc, but has over 10 years experience playing middle-eastern and greek music with bands such as Yalla! and Melisma. Matt is one of Australia's leading middle-eastern percussionist, playing with Yalla!, Fingers of Fury, Gece. Harry is a busy guitarist and record producer who has worked with many eastern ensembles and developed his unique style.  


Selected Performances

2009   Jewish Museum of Australia -  Middle Eastern Feast

         (- break – overseas travel - baby - )
2005    Live to Air PBS   

2005    The Boite World Music café (CD Launch)

2004    Span Gallery / Kosher Culture                      
2004    Darsheini / Monash University concert      
2004   Interfaith Concert  Melbourne University  

2004   Exile and Ecstasy theatre/music project


The original recording featured Sarah Mandie, Harry Williamson, Ernie Gruner,

as well as Kate Neal ( recorder ), Martin McKerras ( clarinet ) and Tunji Bayer ( zarb, tavil )


CD Availability & Distribution

    Order here Email Ernie 


or  CD Baby  (also has audio samples & digital downloads )   (USA)

or Indie-CDs   ( Australia )


This is Sephardic music, sung in Ladino, the language of a Jewish people without a homeland, who were expelled from Spain in 1492 and fled to the Ottoman Empire. The result is a compilation with an Eastern flavour originating from countries like Bulgaria, the Balkans, Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. Some of Melbourne's finest folk musicians play songs about fate and longing, heaven and earth, the sun and the moon; it's the sort of music that gets into your blood and warms your soul.. The CD introduces a blend of cultures: Spanish, Turkish, Greek and Hebrew.The sound is tantalisingly familiar and yet I'd never quite heard any of these versions before. Deep guttural lead vocals are by Sarah Mandie who has a special interest in Jewish music. Sarah chose most of the work herself. Some of the instruments are presumably traditional for Sephardic Jews although clearly poetic licence is also at play. The musical talent brought in by Sara includes some of Melbourne's finest improvisers.  Jan Forbes for Indie-CDs

Solar and Luna energy mingle in this work of beauty: sephardic fusion by Australian band, Soleluna. Celebrating Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) songs through modern interpretations, led by the expressive, vibrant voice of Sarah Mandie, this album was produced and arranged with Harry Williamson, who also plays several instruments on it including tiple, piano, hammer dulcimer and his own invention, angel guitar. I bought this CD at its launch in Melbourne, being impressed by the versatile performances on a rich array of instruments, such as clarinet, recorder, viola, zarb and tavil, all of which appear on the recordings. Highly recommended. Louisa John-Krol